NSW online gaming regulator wants to raise fines for repeat ad offences

Liquor & Gaming NSW says operators see fines as a cost of doing business.
Liquor & Gaming NSW says operators see fines as a cost of doing business.

The New South Wales (NSW) gaming regulator has said that online betting providers who advertise illegally should be given higher penalties.

Australia.- Liquor & Gaming NSW has said that online betting providers should face higher penalties for repeated illegal advertising, arguing that offenders see the current fines as a cost of doing business. Since 2018, the maximum fine for operators guilty of promoting inducements has been AU$110,000 (US$77,000), but the top penalty has never been handed out.

Since 2015, Liquor & Gaming NSW has prosecuted 37 cases, with AU$642,500 (US$$447,000) handed out in fines. There are 18 matters currently before court.

Anthony Keon, chief executive of hospitality and racing at the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade said: “Absolutely fines need to be higher. We would like to see penalties for repeated behaviour towards the upper end.

“If they fail to respond to that, we will be discussing with government to get fines increased.”

Chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform Tim Costello said repeat offending would continue to occur as long as NSW “lacked fines commensurate with the damage” caused by gambling.

“It’s shocking and the truth is, the industry has gone upstream and captured regulators and that state capture is reflected in the fines that are just a small cost of doing business for operators,” he said. “We don’t really have a serious set of sanctions and fines. Gambling inducements can ruin lives, the ripple effects are enormous … when fines are this weak, the state is failing to protect the community.”

The regulator has recently issued a AU$70,000 (US$49,000) fine to online betting provider BetDeluxe for publishing illegal gambling inducements and has fined PointsBet AU$35,000 (US$24,500).

The agency said that BetDeluxe pleaded guilty to five offences during a court hearing this week, including 21 Facebook promotions for bonus bets on sports games and enhanced odds on horse racing.

PointsBet pleaded guilty to two advertisements that included an Instagram promotion to receive $50 back in bonus bets. A PointsBet spokesman said the operator regretted the advertisements, which were the result of an “inadvertent coding error”.

See also: Liquor and Gaming NSW fines Rob Waterhouse over illegal gambling ads

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Liquor & Gaming NSW New South Wales